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March 14, 2019 at 11:20 am · · Comments Off on Make Plans to Join MEREDA on April 10 to Learn About Portland’s Economic Growth in the East End Over the Last Ten Years

Make Plans to Join MEREDA on April 10 to Learn About Portland’s Economic Growth in the East End Over the Last Ten Years

Come learn about Portland’s economic growth in the East End over the last ten years, including the public-private sector partnerships which support it. In 2004, the Portland City Council approved a plan for the eastern waterfront of the city that proposed a new street grid, redevelopment of the old Portland Company site, and a mix of uses and buildings to integrate with the historic fabric of the area. Since that time, the City has completed new zoning for the area, and a new Comprehensive Plan that sets a framework for growth. Hear from City officials about how this work proceeded from planning, to action, to partnership, and how the City continues to work to manage the impacts of development through innovative strategies to manage mobility, parking and quality of life issues.

Make plans now to join MEREDA on April 10, 2019 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at the Clarion Hotel in Portland.

About the Panelists:

Jeff Levine, AICP, has been involved with land use and economic development planning on the local and regional level for 20 years. In Portland, he has built a team that has led projects such as Portland’s Plan 2030; development of a form-based code for the India Street neighborhood; creation of an inclusionary housing ordinance and robust Housing Trust; and other changes to operations and local ordinances to promote a sustainable city. Before coming to Portland, he was the Director of Planning & Community Development for Brookline, MA, where he managed the completion of the town’s award-winning Comprehensive Plan and a public realm plan for the Route 9 corridor into Boston. Previously, he worked as the Director of Transportation & Long Range Planning for the City of Somerville, MA, and as a regional planner for the Cape Cod Commission. A New England native, he has been involved in a number of land use transformations, including the redevelopment of the Assembly Square district in Somerville; planning for the introduction of a new light rail transit line in Somerville; and redevelopment of John Kennedy’s boyhood church into a mixed-income housing development in Brookline. Jeff has also been involved in Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Boston, on Cape Cod, and in Portland. Jeff is an adjunct faculty member at the Muskie School of Public Service, and was previously an adjunct at Tufts University, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and at the APA Planning Leadership Institute. He has a degree in economic development planning from the University of Minnesota and an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University.

Greg Mitchell has over thirty-five years of economic development work experience in public and private sectors including non-profit organizations located in South Florida and throughout Maine. He has been the Economic Development Director for the City of Portland for ten years. His present work involves business recruitment and retention, advocacy of business interests in City government, marketing, lead negotiator with economic development projects and City real estate transactions.  Greg has degrees in business administration and economics from Norwich University and Florida Atlantic University.

Registering for this Event: Click here to Register Now

Your RSVP is requested by April 3, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after April 3, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $45 each | Non-Members: $55 each

Prices increase by $10 after April 3, 2019

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Series is sponsored by Norway Savings Bank.

March 12, 2019 at 8:20 am · · Comments Off on The Future of Home Buying

The Future of Home Buying

Dava Davin, Principal, Portside Real Estate Group

Will technology make real estate transactions a whole lot easier? The number of single-family home transactions in Maine has been flat for the last three years and is not expected to increase any time soon. This is a reflection of the economy, age of Mainers, and an inventory shortage. But could it also be that buying and selling homes is a royal pain in the rear for most people, preparing their homes for strangers to walk through, tons of paperwork, and the terrifying unknowns being able to find their next suitable home? With this in mind some companies are trying to shake things up the way Uber disrupted transportation and Netflix changed home entertainment.

Let’s take a step out of Maine for a moment. $100 billion of commissions are paid per year in the United States. Residential real estate has been sold the same way for decades, but we are starting to see change in other parts of the country as consumers would like to see a simplified method for transacting real estate. Millennials will account for 45% of buyers in 2019. Millennials, and frankly all consumers want information and action ON DEMAND, they don’t want to leave voice mails or send emails and WAIT, they prefer just to push a button on their phone and take an action. So, an enormous amount of money is being invested into technology to get a bite into the real estate industry and that $100 billion of commissions. The historical void of innovation in real estate has opened a world of opportunity for startups that are attracting billions of dollars from venture capitalists.

The VC world is all about PROPTECH (short for property technology) — a relatively new term referring to the sector of startups that create new products or business models for the real estate market. This is the future of real estate market.

The players in this space are VERY powerful. Global venture capital investment in real estate innovation was $12.6 billion in 2017.

One model the proptech companies have launched is the iBuyer. Sellers can trade in their house on-line!  An iBuyer is a company that will make a homeowner an offer on their home online within minutes (or days), sight unseen, using an automated valuation tool. If they choose to accept the price, they can close in as little as a couple of days or pick a convenient closing date. The iBuyers tout the selling experience as quick and easy. No need to paint, stage, repair, clean up, have showings and open houses. Yes, these valuations are less than market value, but for a homeowner that needs to relocate for a job, is navigating a sensitive divorce, or a seller that can’t afford to buy without selling and want to act quickly…this could be the answer!

Opendoor, one of the iBuying companies has raised over $1 billion in VC money. Other competitors OfferPad and Knock have also raised quite a bit of money. It is not just startup tech companies investing in iBuyer technology, the traditional real estate players are also bankrolling new technologies. Zillow, Keller Williams, Realogy, and Redfin have developed their own iBuying arms and investing heavily in proptech.

Who is using these services?

Rental giants that used to gobble up distressed sales to grow their single-family inventory can’t do that anymore as foreclosures have dried up. 1 in 10 homes sold by iBuyers are bought by institutional investors. This number is increasing. It is not just big landlords buying through this method, the tight inventory is causing single family rental investors across the country to look for other methods to find inventory to buy. Rental demand is predicted to stay strong in the next decade.

iBuying is still a niche product. If we look at Phoenix, a city with where multiple iBuyers have been operating for years, the sector has only about 4 percent of the overall market. Would this model work in Maine? No, probably not, we have a lot of variety in our housing stock, the values would be difficult to capture without a human visit to the property.

But the venture capital money is allowing proptech companies to keep developing a solution to simplify the home buying process. The iBuying model (or another automated option for selling real estate) will gain in popularity. And that appetite will likely only grow as consumers skew younger and are more empowered by technology.  It won’t be this exact model, but once the technology is discovered that does catch on, it will be a rapid change – think about quickly Uber changed how we get around and how Amazon changed our shopping experience.

It will be exciting to watch and be a part of these changes as technology is infused in residential real estate and if/when it will creep into Maine’s market.

March 1, 2019 at 12:55 pm · · Comments Off on Thinking Spring? Think MEREDA’s Annual Networking Social on March 21!

Thinking Spring? Think MEREDA’s Annual Networking Social on March 21!

Make plans now to join us on March 2 at Ri Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant for MEREDA’s Annual Spring Networking Social!

MEREDA’s networking events attract key players in Maine’s real estate industry offering excellent opportunities to interact with the experts.

Join us and other industry professionals on Portland’s waterfront on March 21 from 5 – 7 pm for Hors d’ oeuvres, Spirits, and Great Conversation as we welcome Spring to Maine!

Join us for a cocktail or two, and reconnect with colleagues and friends, both old and new!  This “can’t miss” event sells out every year, so sign up early!

Click here to register now

February 22, 2019 at 3:00 am · · Comments Off on Mark Your Calendar to Join MEREDA for Breakfast on March 12 to Discover How the “Transformation of the Retail Experience” is Taking Shape in Maine

Mark Your Calendar to Join MEREDA for Breakfast on March 12 to Discover How the “Transformation of the Retail Experience” is Taking Shape in Maine

Rock Row is a transformative 110 acre mixed-use development thoughtfully designed to complement state-of-the-art architecture with the site’s unique natural features. Through careful planning, Rock Row in Westbrook, Maine combines healthy urban living, destination retail, modern workplaces, select and full service hotels, diverse entertainment, and chef-inspired dining in a fun, convenient and immersive experience.

Mark your calendar to join us for breakfast on March 12 from 7:30 AM – 9:30 AM at the Holiday Inn By the Bay to discover how the transformation of the retail experience is taking shape in Maine.

About the Event:

March 12, 2019 – 7:30AM to 9:30AM

Holiday Inn by the Bay
88 Spring Street
Portland, ME 04101

Breakfast: 7:30 AM Program: 8:00 – 9:30 AM

About the Panel:

Josh Levy, Waterstone’s co-founding Principal, is actively involved in all facets of the company including site acquisition, permitting, and development, with a primary focus on Leasing for Waterstone’s 50+ shopping center portfolio and developing strategic leasing/development initiatives.

Before starting Waterstone, Josh served as Chief Operating Officer of a privately held real estate investment company and was responsible for company operations and its Massachusetts portfolio. A graduate of Boston College, Josh holds a Bachelor of Science degree and has pursued continued real estate education through MIT, Boston University, ICSC and CCIM. He has been a guest lecturer at both Harvard University and Boston College, and is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers, NH ICSC Next Generation Committee, Young President’s Organization, and Boston College TREK.  Josh is actively involved with the Dakshana Foundation in India and other local Boston organizations.

Trip Schneck is an industry-leading expert in specialty food, beverage (F&B) and entertainment procurement. Prior to the acquisition by Cushman & Wakefield, Trip, and his partner, Phil Colicchio, founded Colicchio Consulting where their work has given them a proven track record in the F&B industry in identifying, evaluating, conceiving, selecting, and contracting with food and beverage providers for food halls, hotels and shopping centers among other concepts. Since 2015, they have been at the forefront of “The Food Hall Movement”‘, advising property owners and universities on the critical need for intelligently programming communal spaces to include authentic food and beverage offerings, markets, beer gardens, rooftop experiences and thoughtfully curated Food Halls. In 2017, they expanded to include the development of live performance.

Registering for this Event:

MEREDA Member: $45 each  | Non – Member: $55 each
Register After March 5:  Member: $55 each  |  Non-Member $65 each

Your RSVP is requested by March 5, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after March 5, 2019.

This MEREDA Morning Menu Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank and Waterstone Properties.

Click here  for more information and to register.

February 19, 2019 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on Join DevelopME for a “Lunch & Learn” Seminar titled “Building a Career In Real Estate”

Join DevelopME for a “Lunch & Learn” Seminar titled “Building a Career In Real Estate”

Join DevelopME on Thursday March 7, 2019 at the Portland Public Library from 11:30 a.m.—1:00 p.m. for their latest Lunch and Learn event, “Building a Career In Real Estate” to hear three industry veterans answer questions about how they navigated their careers in the pine tree state. Josh Fifield of Clark Insurance will moderate the discussion and we will hear from Kim Twitchell, Maine Regional President at NBT Bank along with Roxane Cole, Managing Member/Commercial Broker at Roxane Cole Commercial Real Estate, and Erin Cooperrider, Partner at the New Height Group and Development Strategist at Community Housing of Maine.


About the Panelists

Josh Fifield is currently a Senior Account Executive at Clark Insurance, a 100% Employee Owned Company headquartered in Portland ME, where he partners with businesses to offer customized commercial insurance solutions. Josh draws from over 15-years of experience in the insurance industry, having worked on both the agency side and carrier side as an underwriter at MEMIC. Josh serves as a director on MEREDA’s Board and co-chairs MEREDA’s Marketing & Membership committee. As a community leader, Josh serves as a director on the Maine Real Estate Development Association (MEREDA) Board and co-chairs MEREDA’s Marketing & Membership committee. He is also a board member for Portland Little League and Vice Chair for Town & Country Federal Credit Union.

Roxane Cole is an entrepreneur.  After graduating from the University of Maine at Orono she taught school briefly but found her strong interest was entrepreneurial ventures. At age twenty-five she founded and co-owned a chain of retail stores and a mail order business which she sold before entering the field of commercial real estate. In February 2010, after decades as a commercial broker, she founded the firm Roxane Cole Commercial Real Estate.  With her 30 years of experience as a commercial broker, Roxane has made an indelible impact on Maine’s real estate industry and MEREDA.  Roxane has been an active member of MEREDA’s Board of Directors since 2003, having served as president from 2006-2008 and recently received MEREDA’s 2018 President’s Award.

Erin Cooperrider is a partner at NewHeight Group, a Portland-based development firm and Development Strategist for Community Housing of Maine, a 25-year old non-profit affordable housing developer also based in Portland. In her work with NewHeight Group, Erin manages permitting, financing, and the construction process. During her tenure at CHOM, Erin helped to grow the organization’s asset base from $7 to more than $60 million. Before joining CHOM in 2002, Erin worked in commercial real estate development in Maine, and asset management and real estate development consulting outside of Maine. Erin was a co-founder of The Signal Group, a 23-year old real estate services company based in Portland, Maine. She serves on the Advisory Council of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. Erin received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her graduate degree from Stanford University.

Kim Twitchell, Maine Regional President at NBT Bank has approximately 30 years of experience in commercial banking in Maine, with the last 20 focused primarily in commercial real estate.  Kim started her career as a commercial analyst with Fleet National Bank in 1989 and spent 17 years with Fleet/Bank of America before joining TD Bank in 2006 as a senior lender and commercial real estate manager.  Kim joined NBT Bank in November 2014 as their Regional Commercial Banking Manager and is currently the Regional President for NBT’s Portland, Maine operation and is board member of MEREDA, Avesta Housing Development Corporation and Community Housing of Maine.


Registering for this Event

Your RSVP is requested by February 28, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted  to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after February 28, 2019.

Ticket Prices:

Members: $15 each | Non-Members: $25 ea
Prices increase by $10 after February 28, 2019

Click here to register for this event now.

January 9, 2019 at 3:26 pm · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “Opportunity Zones: Bangor Edition – What you Need to Know to Take Advantage of this Opportunity in Real Estate and Beyond”

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “Opportunity Zones: Bangor Edition – What you Need to Know to Take Advantage of this Opportunity in Real Estate and Beyond”

The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a bi-partisan tax incentive program based on economically distressed Opportunity Zones.  Investors in Qualified Opportunity Zone businesses now have the ability to defer, and to some extent eliminate, recent capital gain income, by properly investing their gain proceeds.  Gov. LePage has designated 32 Opportunity Zones in Maine ranging from Saco to Madawaska, which opens the door for real estate developers pursuing projects in these designated areas to tap into a whole new group of tax savvy investors.

Join MEREDA for breakfast on February 26 from 7:30 AM – 9:00 AM at the Hollywood Casino Bangor to learn more about these complicated new rules.  Panelists  Andy Smith and Nelson Toner will offer insights about how the legislation will impact the real estate industry and the tax advantages available to investors in Opportunity Zone projects.

About the Event:

February 26, 2019 – 7:30AM to 9:00AM

Hollywood Casino Bangor
500 Main Street
Bangor, ME 04101

Breakfast: 7:30 AM Program: 8:00 – 9:00 AM

About the Panel:

For more than 30 years, Nelson Toner has practiced law at Bernstein Shur providing tax planning, estate planning and business succession planning to individual and business clients.  Prior to working at Bernstein Shur, Nelson worked in the tax department at the Boston office of Grant Thornton, an international accounting firm during the halcyon days of pre-1986 real estate syndications.  Nelson gives many local and state seminars, including a regular presentation at the Maine Tax Forum each autumn, and for many years taught Estate and Gift Tax at the Maine Law School.  He also writes the S Corporation column for the Journal of Passthrough Entities, a national tax publication.

Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trinity College (Hartford), a JD  degree from Case Western Reserve University, and an LLC in taxation from Boston University.

Andrew Smith is a principal at Baker Newman Noyes, specializing in assisting his clients with practical advice and creative solutions to their most challenging business issues, including tax efficient structures for business transactions; fixed asset analysis; succession planning; and tax deferral and reduction strategies. He also works with real estate clients of all sizes on cost segregation studies, like-kind exchanges, and historic rehabilitation credits. In addition to serving clients, Andy is also actively  involved in the firm’s college recruiting initiatives, having begun his career at the firm in 1997 as an intern and leads the tax department’s Multi-Generational Business group.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in accounting and finance, from the University of Maine, Orono.

Registering for this Event:

MEREDA Member: $25 each  | Non – Member: $35 each
Register After February 19:  Member: $35 each  |  Non-Member $45 each

Your RSVP is requested by February 19, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after February 19, 2019.

This MEREDA Morning Menu Breakfast Event is Sponsored by the City of Bangor and Bangor Savings Bank.

Click here for more information and to register.

January 7, 2019 at 10:07 am · · Comments Off on MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “Everyone Needs an Affordable Home: Building on Housing Solutions That Work”

MEREDA’s Morning Menu Breakfast Event “Everyone Needs an Affordable Home: Building on Housing Solutions That Work”

Safe, affordable housing is a basic human need. It can lower stress, bolster health and reduce transiency, enabling children to perform better in school, adults to retain jobs, and neighbors to feel connected and safe. Unfortunately, Maine is experiencing a fundamental mismatch between its housing stock and its housing needs, and that mismatch is creating enormous problems for our families and our state’s economic well-being. For tens of thousands of Mainers, the price, quality, size and location of the homes available to them are simply out of synch with their needs and resources. This housing market failure affects wide swaths of Mainers, but seniors on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and lower-wage workers are particularly affected. Come hear a panel of experts in the housing policy field present the latest data on Maine’s affordable housing crisis, its impact on Maine people, and a major new initiative being considered by the state Legislature to increase the rate of production of affordable homes statewide.

Join MEREDA for breakfast on February 7 from 7:30 AM – 9 AM at the Portland Regency Hotel for a panel discussion with experts in the housing policy field. Amy Cullen from The Szanton Company will moderate the conversation as our panelists present the latest data on Maine’s affordable housing crisis, its impact on Maine people, and a major new initiative being considered by the state Legislature to increase the rate of production of affordable homes statewide.

About the Event:

February 7, 2019 – 7:30AM to 9:00AM

Portland Regency Hotel
20 Milk Street
Portland, ME 04101

Breakfast: 7:30 AM Program: 8:00 – 9:00 AM

About the Panel:

Amy Cullen is a development officer at The Szanton Company, where her responsibilities include financial analysis, performing due diligence on potential sites for projects, completing financing applications, and coordinating with lenders, attorneys, architects, contractors and others on all aspects of The Szanton Company’s development projects. Amy also serves as the President of Saco Falls Management, where she is involved with the planning, implementation, marketing and operating strategies for a variety of properties in Maine and New Hampshire.

Greg Payne is the Director of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, a diverse association of more than 135 private and public-sector organizations committed to ensuring that all Mainers are adequately and affordably housed. He is also a developer of affordable rental homes at Avesta Housing, a non-profit housing agency based in Portland. Greg has more than 20 years of experience on issues related to housing and homelessness, and currently serves as the chairman of the board of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Jess Maurer is the Executive Director of the Maine Council on Aging, a broad, multidisciplinary network of more than 75 organizations, businesses and community members working to ensure we can all live healthy, engaged and secure lives as we age in our homes and in community settings. In this role, she advances statewide public policy initiatives, provides leadership within Maine’s aging network and supports Maine’s Legislative Caucus on Aging. Her areas of specific focus include housing, transportation, workforce, “aging in place” and care across all settings.

Dana Totman is the President & CEO of Avesta Housing, a nonprofit affordable housing provider with 45+ years of experience as a leader in affordable housing development and property management in southern Maine and New Hampshire. He has led Avesta through significant growth over the past 18 years, with a focus on staff leadership, cultivating partnerships and opportunities, and organizational change. Dana’s career has focused on nonprofit and government management and leadership, specializing in guiding organizations through significant change.

Rick McCarthy is the Managing Director of Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, the government relations and economic development affiliate of Eaton Peabody. Prior to joining Eaton Peabody Consulting Group, Rick served as Chief of Staff to several Maine Senate Presidents. He is recognized in the State House as a skilled consensus builder who is well versed on the major public policy issues of the day. His experience in state and federal budget and finance is particularly strong, along with the topics of transportation, housing, and early care and education.

Registering for this Event:

MEREDA Member: $45 each  | Non – Member: $55 each

Register After January 31:  Member: $55 each  |  Non-Member $65 each

Your RSVP is requested by January 31, 2019. Payment is expected at the time of registration. No refunds will be granted to anyone who registers, but fails to attend or who cancels after January 31, 2019.

This MEREDA Morning Menu Breakfast Event is Sponsored by Norway Savings Bank. 

Click here to register now.

December 17, 2018 at 11:12 am · · Comments Off on Maine’s Leading Real Estate Experts to Gather for Economic Analysis of Industry on January 17th in Portland

Maine’s Leading Real Estate Experts to Gather for Economic Analysis of Industry on January 17th in Portland

On Thursday, January 17, 2019, nearly 900 of the state’s leading real estate experts will gather in Portland at MEREDA’s Annual Forecast Conference and Member Showcase sponsored by TD Bank.  Real Estate continues to be a significant driver of the Maine economy and the MEREDA Forecast Conference provides an opportunity for industry luminaries to share their insight with peers on the health of and challenges faced by their industry. In addition, MEREDA will unveil the MEREDA Index at the conference, a key economic indicator measuring the pulse of the real estate industry.

“We are now in our 5th year of generating the Index and it continues to provide informative analysis that becomes more and more meaningful for our industry,” said Gary Vogel, president of the board of MEREDA and an attorney at Drummond Woodsum.

“While the Index is regarded as a great tool, the Forecast Conference is an event where the important conversations happen—we gather some of our industry’s best minds in one place to reflect on and discuss the trends and factors influencing real estate of all types in Maine,” continued Vogel.

MEREDA’s Annual Forecast Conference is geared towards builders, developers, brokers, attorneys, architects, engineers, municipal leaders, bankers, and accountants.  Continuing Education credits are available for brokers, attorneys, architects, and appraisers.

According to Shelly Clark, MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, MEREDA’s Forecast Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland from 9am to 5pm.  Registration is available at MEREDA.org and is expected to sell out.

MEREDA’s Annual Forecast Conference is sponsored by TD Bank.

MEREDA’s upcoming edition of the MEREDA Index is sponsored by Eaton Peabody, Benchmark Residential & Investment Real Estate, Katahdin Trust Company, Reger Dasco Properties, Redstone, and XPress Copy.

December 4, 2018 at 8:39 am · · Comments Off on The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on 65 Munjoy Street Condominiums

The Right Equation for Responsible Development: Spotlight on 65 Munjoy Street Condominiums

In multi-part series, exclusive to the Maine Real Estate Insider, we’ll provide an up-close look at the most notable commercial development projects of the past year that are helping to fuel Maine’s economy in terms of investment and job creation.  MEREDA is proud to recognize responsible development based upon criteria including environmental sustainability, economic impact, energy efficiency, difficulty of the development, uniqueness, social impact and job creation.

Please join with us in celebrating 65 Munjoy Street Condominiums.

MEREDA:  Describe the building and project.

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  65 Munjoy is a partnership between local Portland developers Peter Bass of Random Orbit and Ethan Boxer-Macomber of Anew Development.

65 Munjoy Street is a three-story, walk-up building offering 8 high-quality and amenity rich condominium units in a range of 1, 2 and 3-bedrooms. 65 Munjoy presents the best of modern design and materials while respecting the traditional architectural forms, organization and massing that characterize Munjoy Hill.

Most importantly, 65 Munjoy is a unique and innovative response to Portland’s call for quality and efficient ownership housing created to be affordable to middle-income buyers. While the housing units at 65 Munjoy would appeal to buyers in any segment of the market, they were designed and developed to be sold at reduced price points and made available exclusively to buyers with maximum household incomes at or below 120% of the Portland area median income. 

MEREDA:  What was the impetus for this project?

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  As Portland has grown in recent years it has actively produced hundreds of new workforce housing units for low-income residents as well as scores of new houses and condominium units for people of higher than average means. However, in that same period, the typical moderate-income resident experienced a concerning decline in affordable housing options.

Being Portland residents themselves, Bass (Peter) and Boxer-Macomber (Ethan) had each participated over the years in an ongoing community dialogue about the problem of suppling new housing opportunities for middle-income residents. While this problem had been the topic of much study, discussion, and debate- Peter and Ethan had seen few tangible solutions had come out of the development community.

They decided it was time to apply their housing skills and experience toward creating a tangible housing project that would seek to address the problem and perhaps provide a model that could be replicated.

MEREDA:  That sounds like quite a process.  How long were you in the planning stages before construction started?

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  Before ever starting the project, the developers had spent years contemplating and sketching potential ways to viably create affordable middle-income housing, but it wasn’t until 2014 that a feasible and tangible opportunity presented itself.

In that year, The City of Portland released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the sale and reuse of an 80’ x 85’ vacant parcel of land it owned at 65 Munjoy Street. The City’s RFP was crafted in such a way that it required the creation of affordable housing generally, but was wisely left flexible and non-prescriptive in terms of affordability strategy; e.g. apartments vs. condos, level of income targeting, design of units, legal framework for income restrictions, etc. The City’s RFP also offered ways that the City could potentially assist in the creation of affordable housing through both the terms of sale and with various potential forms of soft secondary financing.

It was the City’s flexible, non-prescriptive approach to the RFP, combined with flexible finance opportunities that made it possible for the developers to see a feasible path forward towards creating middle-income condominiums.

The developers planned and prepared their response in late 2014 and submitted a response to the RFP in January of 2015.  The developer’s response was reviewed through a series of public meetings and accepted by the City Council later that year. Through late 2015 and into late 2016, the developers negotiated project costs, financing, and City and State land use and environmental permitting.

Construction of 65 Munjoy started in the summer of 2016, was completed in the spring of 2017. The final unit was sold in the summer of 2018.

From first consideration to the sale of the final unit, the project took almost exactly 4 years.

MEREDA:  Tell us about the most challenging aspect of getting this project completed.

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  Over the 4 years that the developers planned and implemented the project, they experienced numerous challenges such as environmental mitigation, legal and financial terms negotiation with strategic partners, a frivolous NIMBY law suite, escalating material and labor costs, and all of the delay and expense associated with each.

While each of these challenges was significant, they were all potential risks that the developers understood and had prepared for. In the end, it was the challenge least expected that turned out to be the greatest….

*See “Something unexpected” below.

MEREDA:  Something unexpected you learned along the way was….

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  When the developers managed to devise a plan that would create hi-quality, highly desirable new units in the heart of Munjoy Hill priced aggressively below market value, the assumption was that all 8 units would probably be under contract before construction ended. In the end, however, only one unit went under contract during construction and it took a full 14-months for the market to absorb the remaining seven.

The slow absorption at 65 Munjoy was by no means for lack of excitement in the market. Each passing month the sales team fielded a steady stream of would-be buyers that enthusiastically inquired about the property, scheduled showings, and floated offers.

The problem was that the very large majority of inquires hit dead ends with the would-be buyers earning either too little or too much to qualify. Several of the buyers assumed that they would be 120% AMI income eligible but came to find that they were just slightly over income. Others had income soundly below 120% AMI but then struggled to pull together the down payment and loan approvals needed to satisfy their lender.

The window of Portland area buyers who who’s earnings were modest enough to meet the income restrictions but high enough to secure financing turned out to be far more narrow than expected.

MEREDA:  Now that it’s complete, what feature of the project do you think makes it the most notable? 

65 Munjoy Street Condominiums:  The developers are extremely pleased and proud to have contributed positively to the current urban renaissance of Munjoy Hill following over 60 years of disinvestment, deferred maintenance, and population loss. The 65 Munjoy project addressed pre-existing environmental concerns, added to the social and economic vitality of the neighborhood and created and sustained local jobs while also adding new revenue to the City’s tax rolls.

However, despite all of these successes, 65 Munjoy’s most notable feature is clearly the way that it provides precious, one-of-a-kind opportunity for middle-income residents to own a quality new condominium unit on Munjoy Hill at price point they can afford.

November 1, 2018 at 8:00 am · · Comments Off on Maine Real Estate & Development Association Appoints Rick Flagg of Norway Savings Bank to Board of Directors

Maine Real Estate & Development Association Appoints Rick Flagg of Norway Savings Bank to Board of Directors

The Maine Real Estate & Development Association (MEREDA) has announced that Rick Flagg of Scarborough, Regional Vice President of Commercial Lending for Norway Savings Bank has been appointed to its Board of Directors.

Rick was born and raised in Eastport, Maine and attended Eastport Elementary School and Shead High School before receiving his degree in Economics from the University of Maine at Orono.

After college he moved to Southern Maine to begin a career in the banking industry.  After a brief stint with Fleet Bank, he worked a number of years for Maine Bank and Trust before becoming a commercial lender with Norway Savings Bank.  He’s been with Norway Savings Bank for 17 years and is currently a Regional Vice President of Commercial Lending.

Rick has served on a number of boards over the years including Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development (MCED) and Risk Management Association (RMA) where he is a past president.

“Norway Savings Bank has been a longtime supporter of MEREDA and we are pleased that Rick has decided to join us on the board, as well as participate on MEREDA’s Membership & Marketing Committee.  We look forward to his active participation as we work to further MEREDA’s mission throughout the State”, commented Shelly R. Clark, Vice President of Operations for MEREDA.

For further information, please contact MEREDA’s Vice President of Operations, Shelly R. Clark at 207-874-0801 for visit www.mereda.org.